A new vaccine allows pneumonia-causing bacteria to colonize inside the body, springing into action only if the bacteria pose a threat.
The breakthrough approach, coupled with the protein-based vaccine’s potential to counteract more than 90 strains of the bacteria, has the makings to override how vaccines have worked (destroying bacteria before colonization) since the days of Louis Pasteur.
Moreover, it offers what could be the most direct and broad response to pneumonia – the leading cause of death of children worldwide under the age of 5, according to the World Health Organization – as well as meningitis, sepsis and other serious infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, a bacteria more commonly known as pneumococcus.
“These are very serious illnesses that we haven’t been able to completely suppress. The vaccine we’re developing could finally get that job done,” says Blaine A. Pfeifer, PhD, an associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.